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compromise. tells the rich, it's time to pony up. tells republican, they want a debt deal. better off have to pay their share. if the rick perry tried and failed to perform in the debate, mitt romney is looking like the republican grown-up. is this the way the true obama haters will see it? finally, as this show starts its tenth year, i will show you my place on the very first show, when it was all about the buildup to the war in iraq and it's still my pledge to you today. with us today, michael gerstein, cnn's gloria borger, "the new york times"'s helene cooper and daily beast andrew sullivan. first up, one week after wall street's rotten week, the president gives up on this congress fixing things before 2012. and to confirm those fears, president obama in one of those i can hear you messages to his base, issued a vindictive slam at the rich. of course, that's precisely what he denied. >> either we ask the wealthiest
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americans to pay their fair share of taxes or ask seniors to pay more for medicare. this is not class warfare. it's math. >> one man's math is another man's income redistribution. grist, for mitt romney at this week's republican debate -- >> i don't try to define who's rich and not rich. i want everybody in america to be rich. i want people in this country to have opportunity. >> the political center is actually on the president's side. three quarters of moderates now support unwinding those bush tax cuts for people of over quarter million a year in income. you have some of the facts but here's the question, what's the president's decision now about starting the campaign? a lot of people said here's the line in the sand. you're with the rich, you're with unfairness, i'm with the people in the majority. >> this is a president who's been accused of being too passive of negotiating with himself during the debt ceiling debate. he was kind of a clark kent. it's like he went into the phone booth and then he decided to come out with the cape on and he's superman for the demmic
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base. i think what happened is they heard house speaker john boehner go out and give a speech saying that revenues could not be part of any kind of deficit deal and the president and the white house believe they have to stake out their own position saying, here's where we are and they're making the fairness argument. they would not say it's class warfare. they would say, by the way, as your polls show, most of the american public actually agrees that these tax cuts ought to expire. >> certainly has gone from rod my king, can't we all get together to harry truman. i don't know about superman. something dramatic. that thinking, where did it come from, the go on campaign mode? >> he made this. this is a conscience decision that the white house made, president obama made during the summer. he was going to come out with his economic package. woe have enough things in there to say this is -- republicans have supported in the past but he knew before he even presented it, that this had no chance in
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congress and his plan was to hang it. he put forth the branch and hang the failure around the neck of the republicans in congress. i was with him this week in new york when he had a huge, very glittery fund-raiser at gone that many theater in front of 400 really, really rich people. alicia keys was singing. fabulous affair. he tried out that line. if they call, you know, standing -- making a rich guy pay as much of the same tax rate as plumber or teacher, then i'm a class warrior and he got standing ovation for that. >> bottom line, he came up with the idea to come out with the poor people for the rich people at martha's vineyard this summer. >> no. come on really, vin tick div? you think that's statement was vindictive? i don't think it's vindictive in the slightest. we have to have revenues if we're going to tackle this debt no. way around it. you can't do it entirely by spending cuts alone. look at britain, 3-1 spending
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cuts to tax increases. he spent two years trying to get an agreement and they walked away from him. he has no choice chris: is this mike garrison, he's now seen taking sides against the rich that he says aren't paying taxs? >> i will tell you what, the problem is not he's being too harsh on the rich. i think the problem he's being irrelevant to the only debate in american politics, growth and job creation. you have an anemic plan he brought forward that was largely recycled stuff and then he even swapped that plan with class warfare rhetoric. people are concerned with europe and economic decline, with possibility of a second dip of an american recession. how do we get growth back in this economy? the president is not even speaking to the issue. >> american jobs. have we forgotten that? recycled -- >> and then he buried all of that -- >> any spending, zero class cuts. >> but i think generally the american public is just skeptical right now. but anything is going to fix the jobs problem.
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>> i think it's impossible to have this debate without ack followinging the climate, political -- acknowledging the political climate we're living in. the political climate president obama's living in. plan after plan and his proposals get whacked down. chris: and i'm hearing from people who listen to us on television and follow us on the left progressives, lit up on his attack on the wealthy and saying they never paid their fair share. and jobs and infrastructure -- >> i just want there to be a debt solution in this country. i want long-term strategy to get debt under control. i don't think we can do that without some revenue increase. every economist will tell you that. what does he have to do? chris: we asked 12 of our regulars, including gloria, helene and others will his tax to the rich stand help him get votes in 2012 sflks here it is, eight say yes.
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four say no. you three here all say it's the smart move politically. >> i think it's the smart move politically. i think you have seen president obama now move to full election and full trying to win mode. i think they've made that decision. i think that's going to -- i think that's going to -- >> what was the reaction on wall street to the people he was planning to get money from this week. talking about that fund-raiser, who all know their pockets are about to be targeted. >> it was so weird. he was trying these different lines and seing what would stick and you could see him positioning himself to the campaign. they cheered athat. loved it. >> you know how liberales go after guns. guy hozz own guns and women, i remember that, i'm not going to forget that. are the rich who see the president saying you're going to pay your fair share and pony up, are they going to remember this election next year and say, better not vote for obama? >> i think some will remember. but obama's basic problem here,
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changing his narrative completely. he ran as the candidate of hope and progress and now running as the candidate of anger and redistribution. that's not a particularly good democratic message. >> there's no republican candidate of hope, inclusion running against him. >> they're criticism in this field. >> really can't contain hope because the republicans killed it. they have taken the position from the beginning we will destroy this presidency. they said so explicitly. i don't see -- are they just saying that. >> there's a fallacy that because they support taxes on billionaires that they support candidate whose main approach is tax increases. that's not the recent history of the democratic politics in america. if you talk about mondale or gore. >> he just took social security off the table. it was on there before. chris: he got 53%, almost 54%
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last time running on unity ticket. he got republican support, certainly a lot of moderate republican support. how does he get 51% and win re-election on a division campaign that is going to divide the country economically? >> i think the white house blombs this can be done. they think at the at the end of the day, a, they have enormous faith in his power still as an orator and his ability. you go out to obama campaign events and still see just last week in north carolina, 10,000 people in raleigh, north carolina, at just a jobs plan. you don't see that when you go to a republican campaign. >> here's the problem, you have got alienated independent voters. and this president has to convince these voters that the democratic party is -- believes more of what they believe than the republican party believed. that's kind of the key part because right now they're persuadable one way or another. >> they believe republicans have been more obstructionists than obama. they do. chris: will the president look
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better on the stump, get back, he's down to 39 in some states like florida, can he move back towards 50 the next couple of weeks and months by being a campaigner in chief rather than uniter in chief? >> i think he does look better with an angry message. it's tough. but i don't think it answers major problem that people are concerned about jobs, whether they're rich, poor or middle class. chris: good question. does he look better the next couple months, related to harry truman? >> yes, he looks better. but i think michael is right, unemployment rate is going to hurt him. chris: still off target, off message? >> he's a man who campaigns like ronald reagan and governs like george h.r. bush. the question is whether -- chris: that's hardly a case for re-election. >> i think george h.r. bush was an extraordinarily good president. and i think ob, and like george h.w. bush, can turn on the vision in the oorty. people want change, yes, but they also get nervous and they sometimes stick with the devil they know rather than pick the devil they don't.
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that's why romney really has to reassure people and that's why perry is a disaster for the republicans. chris: same thing that gets people to vote for romney rather than perry can get people to vote for obama -- >> right. you have seen that in some of the polling in florida where the president is well ahead of perry with the support of independence but well behind romney with romney getting the support of independence. >> here's the problem. people are not just afraid things aren't going to get better. they're afraid they're going to lose exactly what they already have. >> and that's such a problem. >> this is the terrifying thought, what if this is the new normal. what if these jobs are never coming back from india and china? what if the globalized economy -- what if the advantages the u.s. historically had has disappeared? what if this is really grim? chris: on that note, before we go to break, let me recall a time when politics was fun. back in 1982 on the first day ronald reagan's tax cuts took
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effect republicans faced a good photo-op on the washington mall. they went out and had someone bake gigantic apple pie 17 feet in diameter. the idea was to have someone go out there and slice up that pie to a long line of young republican activists. well, at the time i was working for democratic house speaker tip o'neill. when i heard about that pie stunt coming, i put a call out to my friend mitch snyder, very aggressive activist for the homeless. i just gave him a heads up on what the reagan people had planned. take a look at how it all played out on the evening news that night. >> the washington monument grounds today, the american conservative union and senate republicans staged a media event to celebrate the first day of the reagan tax cut. things did not turn out quite as planned. henry king reports. >> it was a piece of pie. what could go wrong? a great gimmick, the world's largest apple pie and senator william roth, one of the sponsors of the tax cut bill. but what's this?
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bill wardlaw is standing in the world's largest apple pie. he's playing in it. he's being tackled in it. and then another one. this wasn't supposed to happen. there's the protesting members for community of creative nonviolence were taken away, having made a very sloppy point, masses were allowed to eat pie, footprints, body fears and all. chris: wow. those were the days, my friends, when politics was actually fun. when we come back, is it possible that rick perry, after his amateur performance this week, has made mitt romney ready for primetime? plus, scoops and predictions from these top reporters.
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chris: welcome back. republicans have a goal make once a decades chance at the
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white house and there's a few months left whether to entrust that golden chance at rick perry or safer mitt romney. it may have been a pivotal week in that contest. rick perry looked beyond unpresidential with his criticism of barack obama on israel and a very delicate moment negotiation with the palestinians. then perry turned in a flop of a performance during the debate thursday night. the same time republicans may have bee brudgingly admitted mitt romney impressively is in command. andrew, it seemed leak a big week for romney to look like a grown-up and the other guy to look like he's still an amateur act. >> i agree. i am staggered by this mitt romney. i never knew this was there. he was far clumsier, far more obvious in his pandering, much more stilted. he is kicking you know what in this campaign i think. >> you think 17 years learning how to debate is finally working. he's been debating for ted kennedy. >> the goal he used to have. >> i don't think that mitt romney was there.
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i think this is what happens when you have run once before and when the people around you are very inexperienced at this -- at this level and his best line was, every time perry tried to swat him he would look at him and say nice try. chris: there you go again. >> right. chris: let me ask you about earlier in the week, a couple of things, not just debate but earlier in the week we saw him danny dan with the very far right likud guys playing what looked like pretty cheap politics in the streets of new york. >> the republican politics have really -- for years going after the jewish vote. they have not managed to dent democratic hole in it. they do not think they would have a chance and a lot of that, you saw what happened with representative wiener's district. but they now think they have a chance of getting that vote in and that's what rick perry was after and that's what you saw. it was a really bad time to do this. we're in the middle of the united nations general assembly week. the obama administration is still trying to get to talk the palestinians out of going to the
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security council for the statehood vote, which israel is completely opposed to and u.s. and obama said he would veto. it was just not a good time to do that. >> out of towners tried to play new york politics. like al gore tried to do with ed koch. it's so easy get tangled up and begin to look a victim ever some of the far-out people, very aggressive people. >> i agree with that. when you add it to the debate performance where he seemed uninformed on foreign policy issues -- >> pakistan. >> right. it's an impress you're out of your depth and that i think is the problem. i talked to the republican half that said we were looking for ronald reagan and we don't even have fred thompson in this case. that's a tough judgment but i think >> where do they with their guts and brains. if they see one is ready and another not, do they say this is the year to go with the all-out conservative? >> timing is everything. 2010 was the tea party year. rick perry the tea party candidate. i think economic fears is the kind andrew was talking about are going to reward someone who looks like they know what
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they're talking about. chris: let's start quick. i know you're ready to go. who will jump in? let's start with the first one. will palin jump in now that her guy september doing well? >> i think provides a big opportunity for her. every poll we have shows her third. >> i will say what i said for the last year -- chris: you have been saying she will run. >> i hope to god i'm wrong. i will never be happyer than the dime proven wrong about that. chris: very irish of you. >> i think perry makes room in the field. chris: on the other side, moderate to centrist republican point of view, a lot of people keep saying to me, chris christie's got to get in this thing, from new jersey, the governor. >> i think he's not going to get in but i think what republicans are looking for is somebody they believe can beat barack obama. electability is key and that's what mitt romney's been talking about. chris: is there room for chris christie to get in? >> i think there is but at the end of the day i feel
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increasingly confident we will be seeing a republican nominee mitt romney. >> i think it's time for anyone to come in but palin has -- chris: will christy get in? >> no. >> i think they're looking for barry goldwater republican, or someone more exciting. >> are they still looking for an alternative to romney, that is the question? >> the republican party doesn't like him. they can't stand mitt romney. they are auditioning other people. chris: you know love the one you're with, i think they're
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wi chris: welcome back. michael, tell me something i don't know. >> one of the big stories of the last election is republicans winning in statehouses. national republican leaders really expect the virginia senate, mississippi house and maybe some others to go and it will be just another sign of kind of top-to-bottom failure of the democratic party under barack obama. >> some time in october, the senate is going to pass a bipartisan measure imposing trade tariffs on goods from china and the president is going to be forced into a situation where he's going to have to veto that because he doesn't want to start a trade war. but a lot of democrats will be opposed to him. chris: ok. helene? >> speaking of pakistan and the republican debate, the administration you saw admirable mullen come before congress last week, accusing the i.s.i., pakistani security service agency, having something to do with an embassy bombing in
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kabul. the administration now is trying very hard to sure up the civilian part of the fact stanny government. they're getting so fed up with the military wing and trying to shore up -- chris: who do you think, military or civilians? >> are you kidding me? chris: military run that place and they're our enemy. wonderful. >> you cannot say more about the republican party than in that debate an active duty soldier in iraq was booed. normally you thank them for their service. normally there's some respect. this man was booed solely because he was gay. i think that kind of ugliness will reverberate in the country as if people like me and people like you serving their country do not exist and do not have any dignity as human beings. it's disgusting and it needs to end. chris: we'll see. when we come back, we're starting our tenth year. look back at our very first show.
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chris: welcome back. that was the bombastic way we came on the air our very first show. today we begin our tenth year. that first day here's what i pledged to you -- i care about this country. i don't think americans should be unique when it comes to politicians. agree with thomas jefferson, a little bit of rebellion every now and then is a good thing. so each week i will dig into the financial reasons that drive our politicians. but also sentiments. politics and freedoms are, after all, about free and open argument. the biggest mistake we can make is ignore the high probability that the gi on the other side also thinks he's right, also thinks he's fighting for a good cause, even a noble one. that's our show for this week. thanks for joining us. that still goes. we hear from you every week we value this show. please let your local station know it. thanks for today's great round table. michael gerishen, gloria borger, helene cooper and andrew sullivan. that's the show. thank you for watching.
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see you back here next week.
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>> the topic of religion, policy and race. but is race still an issue in america even though we have an african american as president? joining us in this discussion, author of not in my neighborhood. and later, two new faces chosen in the democratic primary who could become members of the baltimore city council.

The Chris Matthews Show
NBC September 25, 2011 11:00am-11:30am EDT

News/Business. (2011) New. Season Premiere. (CC) (Stereo)

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